At 19, Ivan enrolled at Prague’s renowned film academy FAMU, hoping to become a cinematographer and documentary filmmaker. As he progressed through a five-year course of study, communism fell, and the country was divided in two. International ad agencies moved in and local production companies, such as Stillking, where Zacharias got his start, sprang up as Prague became a popular place to shoot commercials, music videos and features.
Whilst still a student, Ivan was offered the opportunity to direct commercials and he quickly developed a reputation as the most interesting and innovative director of his generation to emerge from the region. Since then Ivan has gone from strength to strength, with an original and distinctive body of work that includes a number of seminal and iconic commercials.
For JC Decaux he contributed a short piece to be shown alongside the work of such eminent directors as Wong Kar Wai, Spike Lee and Francis Ford Coppola. Films for Land Rover, Born Free, and VW’s re-launch of the Beetle, Smile, were both highly acclaimed. Then came Stella Artois Doctor; a captivating historical epic set in rural plague-ridden France. It swept the boards at award ceremonies including top honours from BTAA and D&AD and firmly established Ivan as one of the most sought after directors in advertising.
Amongst Ivan's carefully chosen work he has directed Hollywood actors Gael Garcia Bernal in one of two Levi’s commercials for BBH NY as well as Harvey Keitel and Jude Law in pieces for the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. His first short film, Mulit, in association with Absolut Vodka is an ironic take on the Bollywood comedy/musical genre that was shot almost entirely on location in India. Mulit has been screened at a host of international festivals.
Ivan is one of the most awarded commercials director in the world, his work has earned him over 90 awards including five separate Gold Lions at the Cannes Advertising Festival and six Gold Awards (including TV Commercial of the year) at the British Television Advertising awards.